Since it’s non-shielded ZEC being discussed, what’s the issue with simply forking the existing BTC/BCH/LTC/DOGE code? Yes, I understand node infrastructure and testing must be done, yet this wouldn’t require original code unless you expand to shielded ZEC as you noted as a ‘possibility’ and not a guarantee.
I don’t have weight in the ZCash community, nor much experience, but I’m personally against this, not only due to grant size, yet also due to a personal dislike for Thorchain. They have incredibly sloppy code (those 4 BTC coins? They don’t use the same code. They copied/pasted the folders and have different instances they update with the exact same edits) and have recently suffered multiple exploits.
Also, it’s important to note while ZEC doesn’t leave the chain, neither does the BTC used in WBTC. When you stake on their platform by providing liquidity, you transfer ownership of your coins to a multisig. Granted, a multisig with a bunch of people meaning your coins are very likely to not get stolen by the people in it, yet it’s still a multisig and actions are taken by the automatic decisions of another network with its own consensus. If that counts as staying on the L1, then so does WBTC, at which point the distinction becomes meaningless.
As for actual swaps, you have no guarantee you’ll get your payment as you do in an atomic swap. “in a permission-less and non-custodial wallet” You literally send your funds to the multisig and then expect the people behind the multisig to be running code which pays you out. If Thorchain gets exploited again, and don’t have the funds to complete pending swaps, you don’t get any funds out (until they step in with their treasury to reimburse users, if they continue as they have). With atomic swaps, you’d at least get a refund.
Part of this is my personal bias, as I do understand the fact the multisig is almost guaranteed to act as the code expects. I’m just saying the marketing can be very misleading, and their code shouldn’t be trusted according to its own history. With maturity, maybe, and they are rolling out a new feature to automatically detect insolvency. That said, it only detects insolvency AFTER it becomes insolvent, and crypto systems should never ask “have I broken?” They instead shouldn’t break (unless a chain reorganizes, yet this system runs on a timer and is in response to exploits, not reorganizations).
Personal distaste aside, I do think wider support for ZEC would be beneficial. I just think this grant asks for too much for too little and the value of Thorchain should be properly considered.
TL;DR What’s stopping you from copying the BTC code yet again? Marketing can be very misleading. I personally dislike Thorchain for reasons which may be seen as valid or petty.